The Federal government has said that most marriage certificates being flaunted as legal tenders can not stand the test of time.
The Federal government also said it received calls from organizations and Embassies seeking clarification for marriage certificates submitted as documents.
The Nigerian government, however, said processes are on to reform the Marriage Act to meet modern practice.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuria disclosed these during a conference on the conduct of statutory marriage held in Port Harcourt.
Ehuria said the Federal Government has noted with concern that Certificates of Marriage issued in some parts of the country are rejected during documentation.
She highlighted, “Poor understanding of the Marriage Act, proliferation of Certificates of Marriage, the raging controversy between the Local government and the Ministry of Interior, inadequate number of Marriage registries”, as some of the problems the Federal is addressing.
The Permanent Secretary concluded that the conduct of statutory marriages in accordance with the law is of great importance to the Federal Government.
The Federal Government also said that marriage certificates that were not issued in accordance with the statutory marriage guidelines are invalid and holds no legal value in case of any eventuality in the relationship
According to her, “The workshop has become important to sensitize and educate the public on the need to insist on the conduct of marriages according to the stipulated statutory marriage guideline of the country. The truth is that most of the things couples are holding as marriage certificates as issued by churches, and some other marriage centres are not valid, and hold no legal value in courts in case of divorce and it is the women that suffer it., because they will lose everything.
“Presently, only about 4725 licensed places of worship is Nigeria have updated their records with the Ministry of Interior of which only 314 have renewed their licenses to conduct statutory marriages.
“The Implication is that any certificate not printed and delivered by the Principal Registrar of Marriages is illegal and cannot serve the desired purposes.
“Accordingly, administrators of places of worship are urged to meet these requirements in order to better serve their members.
“The Ministry is presently building a data base of all statutory marriages conducted in Nigeria. It has also developed a data base of all places of worship licensed for celebration of marriages.
“It is very important at this point to emphasize that the conduct of statutory marriages in accordance with the law is of great interest to government. This is because statutory marriages not conducted in accordance with the Act have far reaching unpleasant implications on the citizens and the society, as well as our collective image as a nation”.
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